Alicia Nicholls

The World Trade Organization Members of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS-WTO Members) are among the WTO Members currently on the global trade watchdog’s provisional list to undergo trade policy reviews in 2021. The OECS-WTO Members are the independent States of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The Trade Policy Review mechanism is a key aspect of the WTO’s monitoring function. All WTO members are subject to this exercise which reviews each Member’s trade and trade-related policies at defined intervals according to its share of world trade. The four members with the largest shares of world trade (which are at present the European Union, the United States, China and Japan) are reviewed every three years. The next sixteen largest Members are reviewed every five years. The remaining Members, including the OECS-WTO Members, are reviewed every seven years respectively. The OECS Member States were last reviewed in 2014, which means they are due for their next review in 2021. A report by the WTO Secretariat and a report by the Members’ Government(s) serve as the basis for review.

The TPR agenda for 2020 had to be significantly revised due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a WTO news item, more than twenty WTO Members, some of whose trade policy reviews were postponed this year, are on the provisional TPR list for 2021. In addition to the OECS-WTO Members, the list also includes Argentina, Bahrain, China, India, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mauritius, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Oman, Qatar, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Tonga, the United States, and Viet Nam, as well as the joint reviews of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) —Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Central African Republic and Chad. According to the WTO news item, the final list will be determined by the Trade Policy Review Body within a couple of weeks.

A communication released this week showed that several Members’ TPRs scheduled for 2020 have been postponed, and further confirmed that for the remainder of 2020, the following four Members will be reviewed: Zimbabwe (30 September and 2 October), Thailand (24 and 26 November), Indonesia (9 and 11 December) and Macao, China (15 and 17 December).

To read the WTO news item, please see here:

Alicia Nicholls, B.Sc., M.Sc., LL.B is an international trade and development specialist. Read more of her commentaries here or follow her on Twitter @licylaw. All views expressed herein are her personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of any institution or entity with which she may from time to time be affiliated.